Soh Wei Yu

The Original Pure Land
Padmasambhava is to be inseparable from the primordial nature.
His Copper-Colored Mountain buddhafield is the purity of your personal experience.
May everyone be born in this original pure land,
The uncontrived natural state of indivisible appearance and awareness.
(Jewels of Enlightenment: Wisdom Teachings from the Great Tibetan Masters
By Erik Pema Kunsang)

Mr. A
Sounds very Advaitic Soh

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Soh Wei Yu
Mr. A
That is dzogchen view, however dzogchen is different from Advaita as explained by the Dzogchen teacher Arcaya Malcolm Smith and his student Kyle Dixon:
Acarya Malcolm on Dzogchen and Advaita Vedanta
Acarya Malcolm on Dzogchen and Advaita Vedanta
Acarya Malcolm on Dzogchen and Advaita Vedanta

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Mr. A
, excerpt from your reference provided above,
"This is a non-reductive system. Nothing is actually reifed as being established at the end of the path. Just an array of illusory appearances"… See More

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Soh Wei Yu
Mr. A
Illusory appearances do not “exist”. They are empty of extremes such as existence or non existence

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Mr. A
, yes....I am also talking of "illusory" appearances dear. Why would one use the word "illusory"?!

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Mr. A
Even in Advaita all phenomena neither exist nor not exist. They are called mithya (neither sat nor asat)

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Soh Wei Yu
Mr. A
No substrate is necessary.
Substrate implies a background. It is seen here that the sense of a background is erroneous. There is no background. Appearances are just vibrant transparent pellucid presencing. Even what you call I - even in the absence of five senses - is just another “foreground” manifestation mistaken into an ultimate background.
I will stop here because it is likely going to end up in a neverending debate

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Soh Wei Yu
You either realise it or do not

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Mr. A
you have grown wise. I agree, three thousand years have not resolved this. But just to let you know there are refutations to what you have stated too in Shankara's Upadeshasahasri.
At any rate. I ain't serious. Just enjoying some appearances 🙂

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Soh Wei Yu
Right now every manifestation is pellucid, vibrant, utterly alive, bright, transparent, boundless, presencing all and everywhere with no trace of self/Self/objects
Utter joy and bliss
Utter perfection and purity everywhere
Utter paradise
Eyes always wide opened all senses open and beaming with brilliance without the dichotomy of sense organs, sense object and sense consciousness
Energetic radiance in total exertion
Transcendence is in the ordinary, nirvana is samsara
What was realised as “I” is just the same luminous taste in all manifestation, except there is no background I. That background unchanging is simply a wrong view. “Who” no longer applies, it is a flawed enquiry, and no longer applies for the past ten years.

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Mr. A
Wait, wait, let me spoil some of your utter joy and bliss 🙂
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Good descriptions, regardless of whether it is 'full enlightenment'


[11:13 AM, 9/5/2020] Soh Wei Yu:

[11:46 AM, 9/5/2020] John Tan: I like his descriptions, quite good but may result in energy imbalances.  Best is to practice breathing exercises and learn to regulate the energy into calmness...


Comments by Soh:

 One good way to regulate energy through breathing exercise is to practice the vase breathing.


Here is an excerpt from “Open Mind, Open Heart” by Tsoknyi Rinpoche:


“Vase Breathing


One of the methods that helped this woman and countles others cope with emotions is a practice that helps us draw lung back to its center, or “home.” For this, we use a special breathing technique as a tool, because breath is a physical correlation to the subtle wind energy of lung.


This technique is called vase breathing, and it involves breathing even more deeply than the type of deep diaphragmatic breathing often taught in many yoga and other types of classes with which people may be familiar.


The technique itself is rather simple. First, exhale slowly and completely, collapsing the abdominal muscles as close to the spine as possible. As you slowly breathe in, imagine that you’re drawing your breath down to an area about four finger widths below your navel, just above your pubic bone. This area is shaped a bit like a vase, which is why the technique is called vase breathing. Of course, you’re not really drawing your breath down to that region, but by turning your attention there, you will find yourself inhaling a bit more deeply than usual and will experience a bit more of an expansion in the vase region.


As you continue to draw your breath in and your attention down, your lung will gradually begin to travel down there and begin to rest there. Hold your breath down in the vase region just for a few seconds - don’t wait until the need to exhale becomes urgent - then slowly breathe out again.


Just breathe slowly this way three or four times, exhaling completely and inhaling down into the vase area. After the third or fourth inhalation, try holding a little bit of your breath - maybe 10 percent - in the vase area at the end of the exhalation, focusing very lightly and gently on maintaining a bit of lung in its home place.


Try it now.


Exhale completely and then breathe slowly and gently down to the vase area three or four times, and on the last exhalation, hold a little bit of breath in the vase area. Keep this up for about ten minutes.


How did that feel?


Maybe it was a little uncomfortable. Some people have said that directing their breath in this way is difficult. Others have said that doing so gave them a sense of calmness and centeredness they’d never felt before.


Vase breathing, if practiced ten or even twenty minutes every day, can become a direct means of developing awareness of our feelings and learning how to work with them even while we’re engaged in our daily activities. When our lung is centered in its home place, our bodies, or feelings, and our thoughts gradually find a healthy balance. The horse and rider work together in a very loose and easy way, neither trying to seize control or drive the other crazy. In the process, we find that subtle body patterns associated with fear, pain, anxiety, anger, restlessness, and so on gradually loosen up, that there’s a little bit of space between the mind and the feelings.


Ultimately the goal is to be able to maintain that small bit of breath in the vase area throughout the day, during all our activities - walking, talking, eating, drinking, driving. For some people, this ability becomes automatic after only a short while of practice. For others, it may require a bit more time.


I have to admit that, even after years of practicing, I still find that I sometimes lose my connection to my home base, especially when meeting with people who are very speedy. I’m a bit of a speedy person myself, and meeting other speedy people acts as a kind of subtle body stimulus. I get caught up in their restless and displaced energy and consequently become a bit restless, nervous, and sometimes even anxious. So I take what I call a reminder breath: exhaling completely, breathing down into the vase area, and then exhaling again leaving a little bit of breath in the lung’s home.”


  • All the 4 parts of his talks [The Silent Mind] are good.👍

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    • 5d

    John Tan: What do u find lacking in Alan Watt's "The silent mind" talk?

    He spoke of anatta, seeing DO, emptiness of mental constructs, effortlessness and spontaneity, in the flow but what is missing?  Or do u see anything missing?
    [12:35 PM, 9/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Didnt describe intensity of luminosity?
    [12:37 PM, 9/1/2020] John Tan: Yes.  Directness always have this clean, pure, pristine and transparent taste because there no imputation blocking.

    On someone else:

    [6:13 PM, 9/1/2020] John Tan: Possible but experience should b natural and spontaneous, no strain and no effort.

    What appears is fully transparent, vivid, pure, clean and pristine as the layer that blocks dissapears.

    Until each moment of experience is free from observer and observed, just natural spontaneous pellucid appearance in obviousness.

    When we de-construct more and more, we will also notice the relationship between radiance energy and mental deconstructions.  The universe will reveal itself more and more as radiance of vibrational energies in  dance rather than "concrete things".
    [6:16 PM, 9/1/2020] Soh Wei Yu: Oic..
    [6:23 PM, 9/1/2020] John Tan: As for non-conceptuality, it is not a mind trying to free itself from symbols and language.  Rather it is the insight that sees through mental constructs (reifications) and conventionalities.  It is an unbinding process of freeing the mind from being blinded by the semantics of conventions (existence, physicality, cause and effect, production) that is more crucial.

Sent this to William Gaucher, who went through the earlier thusness stages and realised anatta recently and contacted me via the blog, after a discussion about fabrication and luminosity.

John tan said the following article is very good.

All Around, All at Once: Part 3: “Unfabricated”

Presented by Ven. Jinmyo Renge Osho-ajari

Dainen-ji, November 17, 2017


Each moment unfolds as a display of richness, of colours and forms and sounds, as a myriad of sensations. Sincere practice is allowing the whole bodymind to live as the brightness of seeing, the depth of sound, as ever-changing sensations, as the Luminosity of experiencing as a whole. And when we allow ourselves to do even a measure of this, there is a quality of questioning, of interest, of intimacy with everything that is being experienced. But to do this requires that we choose to stop following the congealing of attention into fabrications that lead to further contraction and inevitably, suffering.


Anzan Hoshin roshi says, in the series of classes on “The 8000 Line Prajnaparamita sutra”:


    Fear is the underlying mechanism of self-image, the attempt to reify reality in the most basic kind of way by simply freezing it and contracting. And the conventions of consensual experience or the experience of those who are unlearned, those who have not studied their experience, those who have not heard the Dharma, who have not practiced it, those whose lives are based on the understanding of a culture which is itself founded on contraction, will allow themselves to fall into that fear and will allow themselves to be held back by that fear from their own freedom.


What this points to is that we must wordlessly examine absolutely everything, taking nothing for granted: not who we think we are, not our memories, not what we think the body is, not what we think the mind is, not what our tendencies and habits tell us to do, not what our anger or fear is telling us to do. Any state you experience, any stance, any structure of attention you experience is not necessary. They are all recoil. They are all self-inflicted damage.


As the Roshi explained in Class 4 of the series “The Development of Buddhist Psychology:


    All conditioned existence gives rise to dukkha or unsatisfactoriness, suffering, contraction, confusion; that this suffering, this dukkha, is fueled by the mechanism of grasping, of trying to hold on to something when it cannot be held and by continually misunderstanding the nature of our experience.


“Dukkha” does not describe one particular kind of state and the "suffering" isn’t necessarily traumatic or dramatic. I mention this because sometimes students will describe a particular kind of state, such as boredom, as dukkha. For example, a student might describe a state of sinking mind, of disinterest, when what they really mean is boredom, and boredom is the result of stupidity klesa. In other words, boredom is a way of experiencing that is poisoned by a flattening of attention that you are fabricating, following, propagating. It is a kind of pouting that one is not being entertained. It is not as dramatic as the tantrums of anger or grasping. But it is still a childish tactic.


But dukkha refers to all  states which are the result of conditioned experience, and all states create suffering, unsatisfactoriness and bondage.


The roots of the Pali word "dukkha" are "jur" and "kha." "Bad" and "space". The root metaphor behind this is the hole in a wheel through which the axle passes being blocked. So the word means obstructed space.


We need to learn that the space of who we are, which is present as seeing and hearing and just the fact of experience is already open. When you are in a state, you think you have no choice about that, but the truth of the matter is that you are not choosing. You are following compulsion. Choose to actually practise and open attention and the axle will turn freely.


It’s easy to cultivate states when you are sitting - states of boredom, states of calm, states of quiet, states of euphoria, shiny, shiny states. But all of these are dead ends because whatever is experienced within the state can only be the product of the state. The context is narrowed to the kind of content that suits it. And this is why such states can seem so convincing, and so compelling. This is why you fixate on them. There is no one who is better at lying to you than you are, and the thing that’s convinced by the lie is the same thing that’s doing the lying. It’s not magic once you understand how the trick works. The states define who and what is imagined as a self but is really just a process of obstruction and fabrication.


    In Zen practice, however, what we are doing is attending openly, rather than fixating. You can’t ‘fix’ a state from inside of a state. You have to open around it and release it first. Anything you experience when attention is arranged in a structure (a state) is going to be biased and therefore cannot be true. Seeing these structures and learning to attend to them more and more openly with the whole of your experience is part of the many truths that zazen reveals. In the Class Six Outline in the series, “The Development of Buddhist Psychology”, the Roshi said,The Buddha has clearly seen that the root of dukkha was clinging to what  could not be clung to. This clinging was the result of conceiving of the impermanent and dynamic exertion of experience to be a collection of real and permanent objects and entities, believing that this clinging will bring pleasure and satisfaction whereas it results only in suffering and confusion, and that what is selfless and beyond the personal is self and personal. The succession of these moments of grasping and confusion he called “samsara”, the “flow”. He called the cessation of this useless struggle and strategic approach to experience “nibbana”, the “blowing out”. In many places throughout the early texts, we find the Buddha again and again asking students to give up their spiritual and secular strategies and just understand something so obvious that it is often missed.


This is why we ask students to sit according to a schedule, why the Roshi has said so often that “the schedule IS Buddha”. The dreaded committed sittings and the schedule you have promised to follow is important because you have to make choices that go beyond compulsion in order to do it. It is something in your life that will insist that you go further than your habits and tendencies dictate and can invite you into the world of the Buddhas. The world of the Buddhas is unfabricated and unborn and you arrive there by releasing yourself into it.


We sit zazen and we do this practice because moment after moment, we do not understand. Any snippets of understanding that come and go are not enough. We cannot afford to entertain ourselves with our states, our thoughts, our interpretations, our fabrications. These are all part of how we misunderstand and will not help us to clarify our understanding. We cannot afford to be lazy. So ‪this morning‬ and throughout this Dharma Assembly, please make the effort to really practise the richness of colours and forms and sounds, the nuance of sensations. Allow the whole bodymind to live as the brightness of seeing, the depth of sound, as ever-changing sensations, and as the Luminosity of experiencing as a whole, by opening all around, all at once.

Also see:
What is Nirvana?
Great Resource of Buddha's Teachings
The Deathless in Buddhadharma?
The Meaning of Nirvana


[9:07 PM, 8/27/2020] John Tan: Yes pretty much agree with what he said.
[9:40 PM, 8/27/2020] John Tan: But the same insight of anatta must be applied to object, characteristics, cause and effect, production and cessation...which is a more slippery issue.  Nevertheless, experientially seeing through self/Self is still most crucial.

Also see: Clarifications on Dharmakaya and Basis by Loppön Namdrol/Malcolm


Posted by Kyle Dixon. Kyle Dixon = Krodha

100% Upvoted 
level 1
3 points · 16 days ago

An interesting topic coming off the heels of the previous post about “non-duality.” In the Rig pa rang shar non-duality is rejected, but not completely, and for specific reasons.

The type of “non-duality” that is rejected is a substantialist non-duality like that found in Advaita Vedanta, which asserts a singular, transpersonal nature that is solely valid. Dzogchen rejects this view (i) because it is substantialist and eternalist, and (ii) because relatively we do experience ontic dualities in the form of conventional juxtapositions.

Moreover, the “non-dual” view of Dzogchen is emptiness free from extremes. This is how the Cuckoo of Vidyā can state ”The nature of diversity is non-dual,” because while refraining from negating a diverse array of discrete conventional entities, we understand that each discrete entity, being empty, is free from the dual extremes of existence and non-existence, hence “non-dual.” Thus the rang bzhin aspect of our nature appears as a diversity while being completely and totally inseparable from ka dag, or original purity, which is the Dzogchen treatment of emptiness free from extremes.

As such, Dzogchen champions a “non-dual duality,” or a “dualistic non-duality,” as Malcolm says, “take your pick.”

level 1

thank you for posting.

level 1
2 points · 16 days ago · edited 16 days ago

“In Ati, the pristine consciousness — subsumed by the consciousness that apprehends primordial liberation and the abiding basis as ultimate — is inseparable in all buddhas and sentient beings as a mere consciousness. Since the ultimate pervades them without any nature at all, it is contained within each individual consciousness.”

Excerpt From: Ācārya Malcolm Smith. “Buddhahood in This Life: The Great Commentary by Vimalamitra”.

How is this pristine consciousness not functionally transpersonal? And why is "dualistic non-duality" not the same as Advaita? If the ultimate has no nature then why label it 'pristine consciousness that pervades'? I find this quite confusing and as much as I respect Malcolm he didn't really clarify these issues. Any ideas?

level 2
3 points · 16 days ago · edited 16 days ago

How is this pristine consciousness not functionally transpersonal?

A “transpersonal” jñāna would be a single, universal instance of jñāna that is shared by all sentient beings.

Instead jñāna is a generic characteristic like the heat of fire or the wetness of water, indentical in expression in each unique conventional instance but since the mind it represents the nature of is personal, belonging to a discrete entity, we do not say that there is a single, transpersonal, universal jñāna as an entity itself that is collectively shared.

If the ultimate has no nature then why label it 'pristine consciousness that pervades'?

It “pervades” consciousnesses in the same way wetness, as an identical quality, pervades each and every instance of water.

Ultimately there are no minds, no sentient beings etc., but conventionally we say there are discrete instances. When we negate entities from the stand point if the way things really are, we don’t then assert that there is a single extant purusa that is established in their place.

level 3

Ah o.k. So jñāna is a property of the individual. If you have a mind then you have jñāna. But then ultimately there are no minds? So ultimately there is no jñāna?

level 4
2 points · 16 days ago

So ultimately there is no jñāna?

Yes, ultimately there is nothing at all. This is the meaning of the exhaustion of dharmatā at the end of the Dzogchen path. Since all dharmas are realized to be non-arisen, their dharmatā or nature likewise cannot be said to remain. Jñāna [ye shes] is after all simply the dharmatā or nature of our mind. Our citta dharmatā or cittatā [sems nyid].

Nevertheless, at the time of the result there are still appearances that manifest as the non-dual expressions of one’s own primordial state. The exhaustion of dharmatā does not actually mean everything disappears into some blank void. It just means we are totally liberated from everything, even jñāna.

level 5

We are liberated because there is nothing at all?

level 6
2 points · 16 days ago · edited 16 days ago

Ultimately no dharmas at all, no conditioned phenomena. And in classic buddhadharmic fashion, Dzogchen considers that a dharmatā, a “nature,” is the nature of an apparently conditioned entity, a dharmin. Upon realizing the nature [dharmatā] of the dharmin, the dharmin is recognized to have never arisen in the first place, it cannot be found anywhere. That absence of arising is the dharmatā to be realized. And so we do not then state that the dharmatā as such continues to be a dharmatā. With the exhaustion of the dharmin, dharmatā is also exhausted because the objective to be realized in relation to the dharmin has been realized, and the absence of arising is now known.

This is a non-reductive system. Nothing is actually reifed as being established at the end of the path. Just an array of illusory appearances.

level 7

Ah o.k so it's like this:

“Since all phenomena are included within the mind, there is no phenomena that exists outside the mind. The mind, which is by its very nature unborn, is simply referred to as “actual reality.” Now, who is it that meditates on what? It has thus been stated:

'Just as space is without reality and therefore

Space as such is not meditated upon,

How could the mind, which is by its very nature unborn,

Meditate on the unborn as such?'

Yet, if someone asks, “Just how is it that the convention meditation is designated?” it is stated:

'All effort is eliminated after recognizing that

Problems and their remedies are indistinguishable;

Practice the simple convention we call meditation by

Settling within an uncontrived state of great equanimity.'

That is, when it is recognized that both the class of afflictions that should be eliminated and the remedies that should be taken up are indistinguishable by nature, all effort connected to bias is eliminated and one simply settles into a state of great equanimity that is only conventionally labeled meditation.”

Excerpt From: Rongzom Chokyi Zangpo. “Entering the Way of the Great Vehicle”.

level 2

If the ultimate has no nature then why label it 'pristine consciousness that pervades'?

Ultimate nature cannot be labelled as anything.

Ultimate nature cannot be labelled as pristine awareness, rigpa, nondual, emptiness free from extremes, or whatsoever.

Simply because ultimately there is no a single object or a single phenomena for you to describe.

level 3

It seems to have a function and characteristics.

level 4
2 points · 16 days ago

Yes, but it is a generic characteristic [samanyalakṣana], not a specific characteristic [svalakṣana].

level 5

There are no generic characteristic and specific characterisric in ultimate truth

level 6

So-called “ultimate truth” is a generic characteristic of phenomena. Not a specific characteristic of a relative entity like the blue color of a car. That is the meaning of this distinction.

level 4

Those function, those characteristics are simply continuous changes that look like interaction of multiple objects.


Mind Space Light
André A. Pais·Wednesday, August 12, 2020·Reading time: 11 minutes

Most spiritual traditions realize that the essence of the spiritual work that is to be done lies within the mind: either pacifying the mind, transcending it altogether, or simply knowing its nature.

Some traditions aim at pacifying the mind, ridding it of agitation, extraneous thoughts and troublesome emotions; some aim at transcending the mind, or simply ignoring it, in the hope that some other reality or essence might be attained; others solely aim at knowing what the mind is, what its nature is, its way of existing.

Using the example of a sheet of paper, imagine a sheet that is totally filled with ink, random letters, drawings and symbols. Its space and whiteness are totally obscured. Some spiritual traditions aim at reducing the amount of "dirt", chaos and randomness in that sheet of paper; others aim at totally removing all additions, recovering the original whiteness of the paper, its original purity; finally, some schools aim at examining the nature of this sheet of paper, at knowing what it really is.

Coming back to the mind, what these last traditions try to do is pinpointing exactly what and where mind is; does it arise from anywhere? Does it cease anywhere? Is its arising and ceasing perceptible at all? And while it remains, does it have a color, a shape, a center and a periphery? Does it abide inside the body or outside the body? Is it physical or ethereal, or no substance can be attributed to it at all?

The interesting thing is that, and coming back to the example at hand, the traditions that aim at the content of the sheet of paper tend to end up stuck at the level of the sheet of paper. On the other hand, the traditions that study and investigate the nature of said paper end up stumbling at a remarkable event: the recognition that there is no sheet of paper, a possibility that may seem so outrageous and improbable that, unless pointed out, it's unlikely to arise spontaneously. By deeply investigating the nature of the sheet of paper, these traditions go totally beyond the sphere or dimension of sheet of paper, and wind up landing, which is actually no landing at all, in a much subtler realm - space.

Concerning mind, what is found is that it very much resembles space - it has no color, no center or shape, no specific location, it is free from arising and ceasing, and, concerning how it abides or remains, even when investigated nothing can actually be found. Some traditions call the nature of mind the "basic space of phenomena". Phenomena themselves, when scrutinized, are realized as being unfindable, giving way to space. If we deconstruct any appearance, it is seen as nothing but an aggregate of multiple parts, and putting aside each and every part, or by zooming in penetratingly, all that is found is unfindability itself - that is, space.

The advantage of realizing space as the groundless ground of reality, rather than establishing it as mind, awareness, spirit or God, is that space has an utterly impersonal feel to it. Very few things are as impersonal as space - after all, space isn't a thing at all to start with. And while awareness or spirit aren't things either, the truth is that we commonly envision ourselves as possessing, or making use of, awareness, a spirit or a soul. These are terms that, no matter how abstract they may seem, are still very much tainted by personalistic traits and anthropomorphic tendencies. Feeling like personal attributes, they aren't totally helpful when trying to arrive at an understanding of no-self, emptiness or lack of identity.

So, we could say: mind is no mind, its nature is space. Space couldn't in any way be more impersonal, to the point that it may even feel somewhat uninspiring, dry and profoundly unmystical. This apparent downside to space, however, offers a superb opportunity of liberation from our deep-seated grasping tendencies. Moreover, it is a very intuitive concept - the notion that things need a space to exist in. So, what the mind is, is this very space that accommodates all appearances; and mind, lacking any specific location - since it has no characteristics that could be located somewhere -, is the space where all notions of location arise. "Here", "there", "elsewhere" and "everywhere" actually appear nowhere, meaning in groundless space.

So, space arises initially as an impersonal realm - as the actual nature of the mind, of beings and of phenomena. In this sense, although it is synonymous with utter freedom and openness, like stated previously it may seem a bit dry and prosaic. And yet, it gets reframed in a very interesting way when we introduce another characteristic of space.

According to certain philosophical views, space isn't a thing in itself; and although that point was already touched upon, the idea here is rather different. Despite the fact that space isn't considered to be an object, we ordinarily conceive it as a vast ground, realm or intangible dimension in which things arise, abide and then cease. We imagine that, if all phenomena were to be removed from space, space itself would still be there. Empty of performers, the stage remains; empty of images, the screen remains. However, this second characteristic of space defines it as a non-affirming negation, which is a technical term meaning that the concept of space is used to deny something, but not to affirm anything else. It's like a scalpel that removes something, but adds nothing; like an antidote, removing poison but adding nothing extra, serving only the purpose of reestablishing the natural state of health.

So, space being a non-affirming negation, what is it that it negates and what is it that it does not affirm? Space negates the notion that things are rigid, stuck in their very specific ways of being, unmovable, unchanging. Ultimately, space merely points to the natural unobstructedness of experience, to the naturally interpenetrative nature of reality. It's deeply tied with the notion of impermanence, change and, ultimately, emptiness - absence of reference points and modes of existence. As a non-affirming negation, it doesn't serve any function other than removing the notions of solidity, essence, permanence, etc. But we could say that, and this is what we must be particularly attentive to, what space is definitely and specifically not affirming is the presence of some ground, basis or open vastness that remains after appearances or phenomena vanish. That would be just a huge - vast - object of clinging, a seed for identity to establish itself and fill our experience with limitations, dualities and suffering.

For example, if space is seen as the vast container of all things, then there is immediately a distinction between space and phenomena; and if such an intrinsic distinction exists, then it is impossible for space and phenomena to interact and interpenetrate and we therefore end up with the problem of having space and phenomena abide in two separate, impenetrable planes of existence. We find a space devoid of phenomena, and phenomena abiding somewhere outside of space. Moreover, if space refers to physical extension - which is what the term "vastness" usually implies -, then the inseparability of subject and object becomes problematic, and the primordial wound that we innately inflict unto experience - the subject-object, inner-outer, essence-appearance split - becomes unsolvable.

Thus, if space was initially introduced as an impersonal realm, a helpful insight in deconstructing personal identity, it is later reframed as to point to, or consisting of, no realm at all, becoming a helpful insight in deconstructing phenomenal identities - the identity of objects and appearances, namely that of space itself. Space, in this later sense, doesn't set in place the conventional notions of distance, separation and extension usually associated with the term. Space merely means interpenetration, the natural flux of appearances - no duality or separation are implied; not even distance or extension.

Usually, when it is said that mind resembles space, such statement is immediately followed by the affirmation that it is, however, not like space, since space is entirely non-sentient and unaware, while mind very clearly is of a knowing nature. Here, we'll stick with the notion of space, because a mind knowing an object or an object being known by a mind amount, experientially, to the same thing - a process whose only visible aspect is the resulting appearance itself. In this sense, to speak of a knowing mind serves only to posit a structure justifying the vivid clarity of appearances that obviously arises as experience.

So, more than speaking of knowing or being known, here we'll point to the natural luminosity or clarity of experience, that arises naturally with its own self-evident brightness, shining spontaneously without the need of being recognized by some external agent of perception. In this sense, the notion of space serves two primary purposes: first it refutes the seeming identity and fixed existence of the entity or principle we ordinarily call mind - and yet, such negation of a mind does nothing to the natural radiance of experience that still unimpededly manifests; secondly, space serves the purpose of characterizing this natural clarity we call appearances, pointing out that such clarity flows and manifests in an unobstructed, interpenetrating fashion. Again, space initially is perceived as an impersonal realm; later, as no realm at all, or even the understanding that the very notion of some extended "realm" or location" is merely inferred from interpenetrating appearances which, arising as a space-mind devoid of location or dimension, can't themselves have such dimensional characteristics.

Therefore, we can say that natural clarity - appearances - arises not in space, but as space. Space, being less of a container and more of a way of being, is not where clarity appears - where appearances manifest - but how clarity unobstructedly functions. We could, perhaps poetically, affirm that light is the body of reality, while space is its soul; clarity is how reality appears, while its empty and unobstructed nature is how it functions. So, bridging back to the theme of mind, we could now quote a Prajnaparamita Sutra that says: mind is no mind, its nature is luminosity.

The term "unobstructedness", like space, can be read as having two different intentions. Initially, it points to the way appearances - the so called objects - interpenetrate, how everything functions together, how information travels and is processed in a natural way, how phenomena are supported by each other in an intricate web of conditionality, how everything inter-is. In this sense, unobstructedness refers mainly to impermanence and interdependence. Later, we come to appreciate what is perhaps a more nuanced and potentially deeper and more liberating meaning of the word. Unobstructedness points to the fact that reality - experience - presents no obstruction to the arising of anything. As long as conditions are present, anything whatsoever can arise or manifest. Clarity has no specific nature to respond to, no intrinsic and unsurpassable characteristic that must not be violated, like some cosmic law. The groundless ground - space - of reality is unobstructing to the arising of anything.
After all, what could limit existence itself? What could impose some format or limit to reality? Sure, conventionally, minds and bodies are seemingly limited in their capacity to experience; existence itself, however, must necessarily be unrestrained by anything at all. In this context, the notion of unobstructedness is equivalent to emptiness, in the sense of absence of intrinsic nature - and thus absence of any intrinsic limitation.

This unobstructed nature of experience, reality or natural clarity points to its plasticity, its capacity to limitlessly shape and reshape itself according to conditions. If specific beliefs and conceptual frameworks are present, clarity shapes itself as a materialistic and dualistic landscape; if a more contemplative and explorative context is given, then clarity may present itself as a non-dual luminous field. Space and time may arise experientially, or they may not, depending on the conditional configuration of some specific luminous appearance. An infinity of beings may arise experientially, or it may not. Lacking any specific nature or way of being, perception and experience can assume any possible shape, gesture or structure. And what is it that is possible? Everything at all, except rigid, unchanging phenomena, closed in self-existing independent natures. The fabricless fabric of reality is unobstructing - it imposes no limitation whatsoever - to the arising of anything at all.

For an experience limited by somatized conceptual structures, the expression of such experience is necessarily very limited - in accordance with the nature of such beliefs. To the omniscient space-mind of what is called a Buddha, experience is unconfined by any limitation and thus the entirety of existence, both in extension and duration, manifests unimpededly, revealing the utter plasticity of time and space themselves. To a Buddha, there's no contraction into a limited, specifically located self-center, and no distinction between him/herself and existence is made, and so "whole universe" and "personal experience" are synonymous from such a perspective.

As a summary, the following may be offered:

Looking for mind, we find only space;
Looking for space, we find only light;
Looking for light's nature, we find no nature.
Looking for no nature, we find it arises as anything at all.

And Tilopa has said:

Just as we apply the term empty to space,
In fact, there is nothing within space
That we are accurately describing by that term.
In the same way, although we call the mind
Clear light or luminosity,
Simply calling it so does not make it true
That there is actually any thing within the mind
That is a true basis for that designation.

Thus, all words can really do is point, inspire, invite a certain contemplation and experience. To attribute any name to the groundless ground - awareness, God, emptiness, dharmakaya, soul, universe - is nothing more than sticking a label to empty space, just writing - not even on water - but in mid air. From a certain perspective, the deepest pointers only aim at fully deconstructing our innermost assumptions and going beyond all extremes of existence, all possible reference points, inviting us to rest in natural clarity and pierce through to the
nameless, centerless heart of reality.